R. W. Johnson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

R. W. Johnson (born 1943) is a British-South African journalist and historian.[1] Born in England, he was educated at Natal University and Oxford University, as a Rhodes Scholar. He was a fellow in politics at Magdalen College, Oxford, for twenty-six years;[2] he remains an emeritus fellow. He was formerly Director of the Helen Suzman Foundation in Johannesburg.[3]

He is currently a South Africa correspondent for the London Sunday Times and also writes for the London Review of Books[4] His articles for the LRB generally cover South African and, to a lesser extent, Zimbabwean affairs.

In early March 2009, Johnson injured his left foot while swimming, it became infected with necrotizing fasciitis[5] and his leg was amputated below the knee.[6]

Accusations of Racism[edit]

In 2010 the Rhodes Scholar and former director of the Helen Suzman Foundation was labelled a racist by 73 prominent writers and academics, who objected to an article posted on the London Review of Books website under the title “After the World Cup" in which he labelled the occupants of informal settlements as "baboons." The LRB was forced to pull the posting after intense pressure from the public.[7]

In 2014, further accusations of racism were leveled against RW Johnson by prominent journalist Eusebius Mckaiser during a talk show on Power FM. Listeners calling in also sided with Eusebius and tore into RW Johnson's assertions that South African blacks associate white leadership with excellence. [8]


  • (ed. with Christopher Allen) African Perspectives (1970)
  • How Long Will South Africa Survive? (1977)
  • The Long March of the French Left (1981)
  • Shootdown: The Verdict on KAL 007 (1985)
  • Heroes and Villains: Selected Essays (1990)
  • (ed. with Lawrence Schlemmer) Launching Democracy in South Africa: South Africa's First Open Election, April 1994 (1996)
  • (ed. with David Welsh) Ironic Victory: Liberalism in Post-Liberation South Africa (1998)
  • South Africa; The First Man, the Last Nation (2004)
  • South Africa's Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid (2009)